Date set for start of estate market

Christine McDermott is co-organising the new community market

Christine McDermott is co-organising the new community market Buy this photo

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THE first date for a new community market in Blackbird Leys has been set for December.

For the first time, residents on the estate will be able to enjoy fresh food, handmade crafts and a community cafe each week.

After receiving funding for the venture, organisers have set a start date of Saturday, December 15.

The market is funded with £14,000 from Oxford City Council’s regeneration budget and around £1,000 in other grants from funds such as Community First.

Co-organiser Christine McDermott said: “It is all going really well.

“We only starting properly discussing this idea in January and now we have set our first date. The launch event will be just before Christmas on December 15.

“The plan is then to run the market every week from January.

“People can get a flavour of what it is all about before Christmas, before it starts up properly.”

The market will be held each weekend at The Barn in Long Ground, Greater Leys. It will also include a cafe where people can meet.

The idea to buy and sell homegrown food on the estate was first suggested by resident Leah Owens last year.

It was taken on by Seeds for Change, an organisation providing support and training to local community groups.

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The venture has been funded by the Oxford Citizens Housing Association, Community First and the city council.

Ms McDermott said: “Now we are focusing on getting the balance of food, handmade gifts, cakes and things like that right.

“It’s important to make it a quality market where people will return.”

A steering group has been set up and is making all the finishing touches to the venture, including deciding on opening times.

It is hoped it will follow in the wake of successful community markets across Oxford and in Sandford-on-Thames.

As reported in Friday’s Oxford Mail, the first farmers’ market set up in Oxford – Wolvercote – is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

Ms McDermott added: “We just want people to know this is something that will actually happen now.

“It’s not just a pie in the sky idea anymore.”

The organisers are still looking for volunteers.

To get involved contact Ms McDermott on leyscommunitymarket@yahoo.com or 07914 395619.

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